All around the globe, eSports and professional gaming are on the rise and they don’t look to be slowing down any time soon. Today, I’ll show you a list of the major eSports tournaments of 2019, but before we get down to that let’s first take a look at what are eSports, how popular are they, and how big is its market? For those who are new to eSports.
So let’s begin.
What are eSports?
In simple words, eSports are electronic sports. It is competitive video gaming at the professional level. Like traditional sports (such as badminton and golf) hold tournaments, eSports too, brings individuals or teams to do battle in competitive video games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and League of Legends for prize money (potentially in millions). The very best players are essentially competing to become the best in the world in their sport, or game, of choice.
These competitions are exciting spectator sports and are often hosted in large venues (such as arenas) in major cities around the world, for example, The International was held at the KeyArena in Seattle, Washington every year from 2014-2017, since then the venue keeps changing every year. The players and the tournaments can be sponsored by big corporations, and the fights are often streamed live online (with commentary) through Twitch, YouTube Live and various other online streaming services.
Are they popular?
Thanks to a number of factors, eSports have witnessed a sharp rise in popularity in recent years, with the total global audience expected to reach 453.8 million by the end of ’19, according to Newzoo (an Amsterdam-based research firm).
Newzoo expects the eSports market to grow drastically, estimating that revenues will rise to $1.8 billion in 2022 from $906 million in 2018. This year the global eSports market will generate revenues of $1.1 billion, up +26.7% year on year.
Like the legacy sports market, the eSports industry (with its growth) has too started featuring slickly produced tournaments, high-value ticket sales, major corporate sponsors and extensive advertising.
The biggest eSports tournaments of 2019
Note: The titles mentioned here are not in any order of preference.
The most anticipated eSports event for 2019 brought with them a prize pool worthy of the world’s most popular game: $30 million. That’s 30% of the hundred-million-dollar million that Epic Games pledged for ’19 to make their hit game into an eSports juggernaut. The sheer size of the pool drew players and streamers from a variety of backgrounds to play.
Weekly qualifiers kicked off on April 13 and continued till June 16, with a prize pool of one-million-dollars distributed among successful contestants each week. From there, the top hundred solo players and the top fifty duo players were invited for the Fortnite World Cup Finals held in Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing, New York in July. The top solo player, Bugha, took home three-million-dollars, with the top duo team, Aqua and Nhyrox, splitting another three-million-dollar between the two of them
The culmination of every LoL competitive year is the World Championship. The best 24 teams from around the globe get pit against each other for a chance at a big chunk of the prize pool pie.
Although, marred by controversies, last year’s World Championship was one of the best yet. It was totally unpredictable, we saw the favorites fail, Fnatic made into the grand finals for the first time in years and China managed to win the whole thing. Viewership numbers were much higher as well; almost double of what they were in 2017!
If you haven’t already, start watching this League of Legends tournament now! 2019 League of Legends (LoL) World Championship is already underway and there’s a lot going on.
This tournament is the pinnacle of Dota 2 competitive play. Attracting teams from around the world, The International is one of the best paid eSports tournaments in the world, thanks to Valve (the game’s developer) adding twenty-five-percent of the total sales of the in-game Battle Pass to the prize pool.
The International 2019 took place from August 15-20 in Shanghai’s Mercedes-Benz Arena. 18 teams fought against each other with Team Liquid (2017 winner) and OG (2018 winner) qualifying for the grand finals, where OG defeated Team Liquid 3-1 in the best-of-five series to become the first ever repeat champion of an International. Its total prize pool of over $33 million was one of the largest for any single eSports tournament in history.
Organized by Activision Publishing, Call of Duty World League Championship is an annual tournament held to decide the world champions for the game. This year it was a Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 tournament on PlayStation 4 which took place from August 14–18.
Unlike last year, this year the action was all five-versus-five team modes, including Hardpoint, Search & Destroy, and Control game types. The finals took place in Los Angeles United States, with the eUnited team winning it. Thirty-two teams participated in the tournament among whom the two-million-dollar pool prize was distributed.
A Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament, the event was organized by Valve Corporation and ESL and was held in Katowice, Silesian Voivodeship, Poland from February 13 to March 3.
Alongside Dota 2 and LoL, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is one of the biggest eSports games in the world. Although, its tournaments are smaller compared to the other two but I’m still including it in this list because it’s one of the first CSGO major tournament in each year (including this year) and also the first CSGO major hosted in Poland for four years! With a one-million-dollar prize pool, IEM Katowice 2019 is not a bad start to the competitive year.
The tournament features almost the same players as the Overwatch League, with the only difference being that they represent their home countries instead of their eSports organizations. Last year, 4 countries — US, South Korea, France, and Thailand — hosted qualifying tournaments for 6 nations, with the top two teams moving on to the finals at BlizzCon.
So far, the South Korean players have been completely dominating the event, with all three 1st place trophies heading to the nation. While Blizzard has not revealed the prize money for this year, expect all the ’19 participants to take home roughly the same amount as last year, a flat $16,000 prize. One thing should be obvious here that players aren’t in it for the money, instead this tournament is mainly about bragging rights and the opportunity for teams to represent their home countries. This year’s event will be held from October31st to November 2nd.
If you love fighting games than you’ve must heard of the Evolution Championship Series (EVO). Started in ’96, Evolution Championship Series has grown into one of the biggest eSports tournament in the genre.
Evo 2019 was held in Las Vegas from August 2nd to 4th, and featured brackets for a number of fighting video games, including Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Mortal Kombat 11, Tekken 7, Samurai Shodown, Dragonball FighterZ, and so forth.
This is just the tip of the ice berg there are numerous other tournaments that go on around the world, all year round. So, if any of these games or events piqued your interest, feel free to explore them further and check out the other smaller, regional events too.